Thursday, March 29, 2012

Manatees in the Englewood Canal

We are back in Florida for a couple of weeks, sending my folks off to Alaska next week, and then cleaning and organizing and closing the house here for the summer.  Today dawned sunny and warm, so we decided to exercise the boat before putting it away for the season.
We decided to head out for Venice to our favorite restaurant on the water.
A lot of the channel markers have Osprey nests - this one had an adult and three babies.
A sailboat behind us in the intercoastal waterway had to wait for the Venice Island bridge to open. 
We ate at the restaurant in the background after finding a place to dock the boat on the big dock at the marina.
We spotted a Mangrove area full of white egrets, so slowed down to observe them.  That is when we noticed a big animal in the water.  
It actually looked like two big animals - we watched a while longer and realized it was Manatees coming out of the water to eat the mangrove leaves.
It is really hard to get a good picture of a manatee - they are very shy and just come out of the water for an instant at a time.  So it was very special to watch them eating when they made their brief appearances.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Family Estate Property For Sale on Lake Eufaula

View from our living room in the evening
Unfortunately, the time has come when traveling has become too difficult for my folks.  My Mom will be 93 next month, so 15 hour airplane trips are just getting too hard on her. We feel fortunate that they were able to help build our houses here in Georgia, and that they were able to come down for so many years to escape the Alaskan winter and enjoy mild winters with us here.  After much soul searching and brainstorming, we have all decided it is time to say goodbye to this beautiful place.  So our change makes opportunity available to another family.  If we could have found what we have here in 2005, we would definitely have chosen it over the agony of an eleven acre clearing project and a two-house building program.  

The possibilities are endless for the right family. Room for multiple family members and for expansion in the future onto currently undeveloped lots.  

So, without further explanation, here is what we have for sale:
My folks' brick sided house with nearly 300' of prime lake frontage on Lake Eufaula.  $220,000
Custom designed and built with care under the supervision of a professional builder.  Over code for the area, every rafter has hurricane strapping to the walls.  At intervals around the frame, 1/2" all-thread secures the walls to the cement slab foundation.  Custom tile backsplash of kitchen stovetop, custom tiles in both baths, glass block walk-in shower plus huge soaking tub in master bathroom, island in kitchen, huge pantry/office, patios on three sides of the house, attached garage/workshop, nearly one acre lot, and much more.
Second house:
$320,000 with possible seller terms.
Cypress sided, 6" walls, hurricane strapping, screened and insulated vinyl windows, attached oversized 2 car garage with complete RV hookup in one enclosed bay, 2 tiled baths with glass block walk-in showers, solar hot water panel, heated towel bar, great room with wet bar, granite counter tops in kitchen and baths, hot water heat in floors in addition to heat pump, covered workshop, separate detached 2 car garage, covered boat dock with 5000 pound electric lift, lawn irrigation system from lake, and much more.

Extra lots available - for example:  
Lot 3 - City water and meter in - mowed and mostly cleared lakefront on cove. $120,000
Lot 10 - End of Road privacy over an acre, undeveloped. $15,000
For information on any of these properties, 
contact Ron or Rosemary Crawford -

Monday, March 19, 2012

Springtime in the South

Even though we enjoy the spring blooms down here every year, it is hard to quit taking pictures.  It is just like a fairyland when everything starts blooming.
Eufaula, Alabama is a beautiful city.  Antebellum houses line several streets, and all have mature landscaping that is meticulously tended.  
Several classic churches are scattered throughout the city.

Everywhere we looked, we found beautiful flowers to enjoy.  More fun than going out looking for Christmas lights in December.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Planting Our Washington Garden while in Georgia

Since winter changed suddenly into summer down here in Georgia, we are getting anxious to start our garden.  With only a couple weeks left in the south, we feel a bit stymied when our gardening genes start to awaken.  My sister told me about a way to make your own seed tape, and since she had her three-year old granddaughter help her with her project, it sounded easy enough for us.
First step - make your glue - one tablespoon of corn starch in one cup of cold water.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until it is bubbly and begins to thicken.  Remove from the heat and cool.
Our raised beds are 3' x 3', so we laid out a 3' section of toilet paper (unscented - the instructions call for single sheets, but all we had were double, and it was hard enough to hold the double thick sheets together).  Ron, who tends to more precision than me, carefully marked dots at 1" intervals in a double row on the toilet paper.
We filled a squeeze bottle with the cooled cornstarch mixture and Ron squeezed a dot of glue on each spot he had marked.
I opened the seed packages that we wanted to plant and put them in individual containers.  Then I dipped a toothpick into the cornstarch mixture and lifted seeds to place individually on the glue.
I found that more than one seed came out of the bin at once, so I placed them on my one finger to separate them and select each seed to place on the toilet paper.
We folded the edge of the TP over the seed and pressed it together to hold the row of seeds tightly.
We laid all the finished tapes out on the table to dry.  Once they are dry, we will roll them up and put them in a zip lock bag and take them to Washington where we can quickly plant them.  
NOTE:  Not sure where a 3-year old would help with this project, but it works fine with two seniors working as a team.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Spring Cleaning in Georgia

I always go into a manic cleaning and organizing mode just before we leave to be gone for a long time.  So our house is never in better shape than just before we leave.  The entire house in Georgia has tile floors. I love tile - but wish I knew when we were putting it down what I do now about tile.  We chose 16" tile for the kitchen, living and dining rooms.  The first year we came back, we found a crack all the way across the floor where the slab had settled around an expansion joint.  

We spent a week chipping up the tile and replacing it with new tile as we had enough of the original tile left to replace the dozen broken tile.  To our dismay, when we returned the next fall, the new tile had cracked along the same line.  So for a couple of years, we have tried various patches, covering with rugs, and other unsatisfactory fixes.

This year we tried something different - we once again went through the arduous process of chipping up the broken tile and every trace of thin set that we used to lay the tile and all the grout that had held the tile down.
This is not a project for the faint of heart - we had a layer of dust everywhere by the time the old tile was removed.  We tried to match the tile in the entry way as the cracked tile fortuitously fell along a line between the kitchen and dining room.

Home Depot doesn't make it easy as they change all the tile colors every year, and it has been 6 years since we originally picked tile.  We were able to get pretty close to the entry way colors, and they don't directly abut each other, so it turned out pretty good.

Another big maintenance job is finished - we should be on the road to Washington soon.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Spring Views around Lake Eufaula

Spring clouds make for beautiful sunsets.
Spring chore - staining the dock.
Azaleas in bloom
Dogwood in bloom
Grass in field ready for harvest
Rough waters
Stormy Skies
Interesting Sunsets every evening